HC Deb 03 February 1994 vol 236 c850W
Mrs. Golding

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what are the figures for mothers breast feeding for each year from 1983.

(2) what efforts her Department has made to promote breast feeding in the last 10 years.

Mr. Sackville

A survey of infant feeding practices is carried out every five years on behalf of the Department of Health. The results of the latest of these surveys were set out in the report "Infant Feeding 1990", a copy of which is available in the Library. In 1985 the percentage of mothers who breast fed was 65 per cent.; in 1990 it was 64 per cent.

Based on unequivocal medical advice the Government have consistently supported breast feeding as the best means of feeding a baby. Measures have included the implementation of a voluntary code of practice for the marketing of infant formula and the banning of free or subsidised infant formula in national health service hospitals and clinics. The Government have also provided £265,000 in funding for the three voluntary organisations supporting breast feeding and the joint breast feeding initiative—from 1988–1992. In December 1992 it was announced that a national breast feeding working group was to be set up under the "Health of the Nation" initiative to co-ordinate the next stages in a programme of action to promote and facilitate breast feeding, building on the work of the joint breast feeding initiative".

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